The Yamaha CS-80 is considered by many to be one of the greatest analog synthesizers ever created.
The CS-80 is a polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1977, and discontinued in 1980. It featured true 8-voice polyphony (with two independent synthesizer layers per voice), as well as a primitive (sound) settings memory based on a bank of micropotentiometers).
Just as important, though, are the CS80’s expression features, such as a splittable keyboard that was both velocity-sensitive (like a piano’s) and pressure-sensitive (“after-touch”). Unlike most modern keyboards, though, the aftertouch could be applied to individual voices rather than in common.
A ribbon controller also allowed for polyphonic pitch-bends and glissandos. This can be heard on the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, which is full of CS-80 goodness.
On the negative side for the Yamaha CS80, it’s one of the heaviest synthesizers ever made – weighing in at over 200lb (91kb). The CS80 is also known for its unstable tuning and difficulty in servicing.
Notable players include Vangelis, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Toto and Peter Gabriel.
If you’ve used the Yamaha CS-80, leave a comment with your thoughts!